While the Nets’ 2021 draft might lack star power because they were picking late in the first round, general manager Sean Marks made up for it in terms of volume by replenishing his depleted roster with six new faces, including three-year point guard Jevon Carter, who was acquired from the Suns along with the No. 29 pick in a trade that sent Landry Shamet to Phoenix.
In the first round, Marks used the Nets’ No. 27 slot to add 6-4 LSU shooting guard Cameron Thomas and the Suns’ No. 29 pick to acquire the rights to 6-11 North Carolina center Day’Ron Sharpe as part of the trade that will be completed Aug. 6. Both played just one year in college. Thomas was the leading NCAA Division I freshman scorer, averaging 23.0 points, shooting 88.2% on foul shots and 32.5% from three-point range and earning all-SEC first-team honors. Sharpe started only four games but averaged 9.5 points and 7.6 rebounds while being named to the ACC all-freshman team and leading the nation in offensive rebounding percentage (.183).
"We’re ecstatic to have them," Marks said after the draft. "We know those guys very, very well; very comfortable with who they both are and how they’ll fit. Cam is an incredible scorer, shooter, and I think he’s a fit with what we’re doing moving forward. Day’Ron has size, mobility and his ability to stretch the floor, which to be quite frank, hasn’t really been seen yet. We’re excited to get both these guys in the gym with our development coaches and go from there."
The Nets stockpiled three second-round picks, using No. 44 to select 6-8 Pepperdine forward Kessler Edwards, No. 49 for 6-2 Creighton point guard Marcus Zegarowski and the No. 59 pick for 6-8 Florida State forward RaiQuan Gray. All three played three years of college basketball.
Edwards was a first team all-WCC selection while averaging 17.2 points and 6.8 rebounds, and he has a career three-point shooting percentage of .387. Zegarowski was an all-Big East first team choice, averaging 15.8 points and 4.3 assists as a junior and finishing with a career three-point percentage of .423. Gray averaged 11.9 points and 6.4 rebounds as a junior and played on two Sweet 16 teams (2019, 2021).
"All three are very competitive, all three have a high upside," Marks said. "We enjoyed watching Kessler with his ability to stretch the floor and get out there as a positional need for us. Marcus can really stretch the floor and is a fierce, competitive, very tough individual. RaiQuan is a very unique player who can step out to stretch the floor some, facilitate as a big, handle the ball. If you’ve watched him play at Florida State, he’s very well coached with a high, high basketball IQ."
Throw in veteran point guard Carter, and the Nets added much-needed depth.